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Theatre CensorshipFrom Walpole to Wilson$
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David Thomas, David Carlton, and Anne Etienne

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199260287

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199260287.001.0001

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Further Attempts to end Statutory Theatre Censorship

Further Attempts to end Statutory Theatre Censorship

(p.159) 6 Further Attempts to end Statutory Theatre Censorship
Theatre Censorship

David Thomas (Contributor Webpage)

David Carlton

Anne Etienne (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a brief overview of the cultural and political context of the 1950s to help explain why any challenges to the Lord Chamberlain's authority were sporadic and largely unsuccessful. Thought-provoking plays written by foreign authors could only be viewed in club theatres, while innovative plays by British playwrights were initially few and far between. It shows how in 1958, an inconclusive prosecution of Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop Company, initiated by the Lord Chamberlain, led her supporters to form the Theatre Censorship Reform Committee. Despite lengthy deliberations, the critics, politicians, and theatre practitioners who belonged to the group failed to agree on how best to effect a change in theatre censorship legislation. The chapter concludes with an account of Dingle Foot's failed attempt in 1962 to persuade Parliament of the need to reform theatre censorship.

Keywords:   Lord Chamberlain, Joan Littlewood, Theatre Censorship Reform Committee, Parliament, Dingle Foot

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